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Recent News

Psychological Sciences Alumnae Named Finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship!

12/12/2018 — Sarena Martinez, MS’16, Psychological Sciences alum and honors student, was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. Martinez, who studied psychology in the College of Arts and Science, was one of the 880 students endorsed by their institutions and invited to interview for one of the 32 Rhodes Scholarships awarded annually. Martinez is currently a Venture for America Fellow in the city of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.

In Honor of the Late Vivien Casagrande!

11/08/2018 —

At a ceremony yesterday(11/6/18) at meetings of the Society for Neuroscience our friend and colleague Vivien Casagrande was announced as the 2018 winner of the Patricia Goldman-Rakic Hall of Honor Award. Named in honor of the late Paticia Goldman-Rakic, this award is given posthumously for recognition “of a neuroscientist who pursued career excellence and exhibited dedication to the advancement of women in neuroscience.” To quote from the SfN website:


The late Vivien Casagrande, PhD, was an internationally known neuroscientist with a remarkable record of groundbreaking research on sensory systems and development. She joined the Vanderbilt University faculty in 1975, where she was a professor of biology and psychology. Her research, which mapped the visual brain circuitry in a variety of species, has advanced the understanding of the development and evolution of the mammalian visual system.


Casagrande published 130 research papers in neuroscience and authored or coauthored an additional 30 chapters and reviews. She received numerous awards for her research, including the American Association of Anatomists' C.J. Herrick Award for contributions to comparative neuroscience, the Vanderbilt Chancellor's Award for Research, and election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Casagrande was a past president of the Cajal Club, the nation's oldest neuroscience society, and served twice as president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Her teaching and mentoring contributions were recognized by her receipt of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 2015.


Casagrande passed away in 2017 from cancer. Vanderbilt has honored her memory by establishing an endowed lecture series and an endowed, annual travel award for an outstanding graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. In addition, funds from Casagrande's estate have been used to endow a scholarship in neuroscience at Vanderbilt. 




We are happy that her husband, James McKenna (Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt) will have the crystal bowl marking this honor.



Caoimhe Stack, Ariel James, and Duane Watson win 2018 Clifford T. Morgan Best Article Award!

9/13/2018 — aoimhe, Ariel, and Duane are the recipients of the 2018 Clifford T. Morgan Best Article award for the most outstanding paper published this year in Memory & Cognition, a journal of the Psychonomic Society. Caoimhe will be recognized at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society for this honor and will receive a $1,000 award. The award-winning article was selected by the Editor of the journal and is entitled "A failure to replicate rapid syntactic adaptation in comprehension." The article is available at this link: and more information about the award can be obtained here: Congratulations Caoimhe, Ariel, and Duane!

Congratulations Daryl, Jurnell and René !

8/24/2018 — Daryl Fougnie, Jurnell Cockhren and René Marois win the 2018 Clifford T. Morgan Best Article Award for the article entitled "A common source of attention for auditory and visual tracking" published in Attention, Perception & Psychophysics in the past year. This is the second best 'journal article' award to Fougnie for his Ph.D. work in Marois' lab. The Psychonomic Society Clifford T. Morgan Best Article Award honors individuals for the best paper published in each Psychonomic Society journal in the last year. Articles are chosen by each of the Society's journals during the summer and the selected first authors of those papers will be honored at the Annual Meeting and receive a monetary award. One recipient from each journal is chosen to receive a $1,000 award.

Dykens wins the 2018 Rare Impact Award from the National Organization for Rare Disorders!

5/22/2018 — Professor Elisabeth Dykens has been selected to receive the 2018 Rare Impact Award from the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Her research focuses on the behavioral studies of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and Williams Syndrome and was the first researcher to describe cognitive profiles and compulsivity in PWS patients. More information about this award is available here, Congratulations Elisabeth!

Congratulations Hao Wu!

4/11/2018 — Hao Wu, an incoming member of the Quantitative Methods (QM) Program within the Department of Psychology and Human Development, was just honored with election into the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (SMEP). SMEP is a distinguished group of quantitative psychologists limited to 65 members worldwide ( SMEP is dedicated to the advancement of multivariate quantitative methods and their application to substantive problems in psychology and related fields. Congratulations Hao on this much deserved achievement!

Smokies Cognition and Neuroscience Symposium [SCANS]

4/02/2018 — The 2018 Smokies Cognition and Neuroscience Symposium [SCANS] sponsored by Duke, Emory, Georgia Tech, UNC, and Vanderbilt will be held September 14-15 at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, in Asheville, NC.

Participating Vanderbilt Psychology & Psychology & Human Development faculty includes James Booth, Sarah Brown-Schmidt, Isabel Gauthier, Kari Hoffman, Gordon Logan, Tom Palmeri, Sean Polyn, Frank Tong, Thilo Womelsdorf, Geoff Woodman, & David Zald.